We'll lose half our gardens
FAMILIES say they will lose half their gardens when construction of a new underpass gets underway. Hertfordshire County Council announced last week that it was making a compulsory purchase of land needed to complete the �3.7million underpass at Coombes Ho
FAMILIES say they will lose half their gardens when construction of a new underpass gets underway.
Hertfordshire County Council announced last week that it was making a compulsory purchase of land needed to complete the �3.7million underpass at Coombes Hole, Royston.
The compulsory purchase order (CPO) affects several houses in Brooke Road, and also three properties in Hardy Drive, where Paul Jeray lives with his wife Vicky, and daughter Jessica, seven, in a housing association property.
Mr Jeray was shocked to discover that he and his neighbours will be losing 27 square metres of land each to accommodate the building of the underpass. This will see the length of his garden reduced from 12 metres to six.
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He said: "We have had no prior warning of this severe effect on our home, and are left wondering where our children will play next summer, and where we will keep our pets, when only a tiny strip of our lawn remains.
"We've had hardly any contact from the council or the construction company.
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"We had one letter from the council to warn us this could happen, but there was no mention of the amount of land until the order itself came through last week."
Mr Jeray is also concerned about the noise which could be generated once work begins on the project, which is scheduled to commence next spring.
He said: "We also wonder how, with the excavation work so close to our house, we will be able to sleep, given that the work under the railway line will be carried out during the night."
The underpass project has been designed to link the northern part of the town directly with the leisure centre and the main complex of schools, and to give pedestrians and cyclists easier access.
Work is expected to start on site next year, with completion anticipated by mid 2011.
Last week, Cllr Stuart Pile, from Hertfordshire County Council, told The Crow that the council would "continue its dialogue" with those affected by the plans.
A council spokesman said: "The back gardens to these properties [in Hardy Drive] have been included in the CPO as they will be needed for working room purposes. We will also need to remove and replace their back fences during the works to ensure adequate working space."
The spokesman continued: "The project has been in the press on a number of occasions as a result of the Connect2 vote for funding.
"There have been a number of meetings with affected residents and allotment holders to discuss the project, and as part of the planning process notices were erected on site and put in the press.
"Letters requesting land information have also been circulated to all affected landowners prior to CPO publication.